Changing for the Better

While I am very, very glad to see this long, cold, difficult and dusty winter season finally come to an end, I am even happier to see some good things finally happening in my life now, too.

Back in January, I committed to making a real effort to get healthy, specifically by changing my diet and my level of exercise, but not just limited to those items either.  I actually made this decision while on our last camping trip, right before we got Little Red and right before my mother fell and fractured her pelvis.  Despite the difficulty of seeing after Mom’s care and also taking care of a frequently sick puppy for the past few weeks, I managed to stay right on track with my new eating plan and even made it a priority, despite my often irregular daily schedule.  I also walked each week as I could do so, despite the fact that it was not to the level that I really wanted to do at that time.  But given the other things on my plate, it was better than nothing and did help to jump-start my weight loss a bit.

As of today, I am now down 21 pounds over the past twelve weeks, and I am quite thrilled!  It is amazing how much better I feel, and I hope to continue along this same path for several more months to lose weight and also for the rest of my life to keep it off.  I bought a smaller size in jeans last week, and my goal right now is to just continue losing about one pound per week, if possible, for a few more months.  As the weather finally begins to warm up, I am also looking forward to some nice, long walks with the dogs once again, too.

My yearly physical was two weeks ago, and my blood work was great, except for just a couple of things that need some attention.

The two highest health risk factors for me are diabetes and heart disease, based on my family history and my yearly lab work, and the doctor feels that my risk of diabetes is actually much higher than a more immediate risk of heart disease, but she was also very pleased with my weight loss, too.

High cholesterol runs in my father’s side of the family, and while I have kept it at bay longer than most, the doctor thought that it was finally time to get started on Crestor, at least for a while.  It is quite possible that making these healthy changes now will allow me to get off of that med next year, but she was still realistic that the heredity component may not ever go down too much without medication.  I also had a mysterious drop in Vitamin D3 and now have to take a big dose of it each day (10,000 IU) for a month, followed by half of that dose for the next two months.  At that time, I will go back to have the blood test done again, too.

The doctor also recommended a change in my multivitamin and daily supplements.  She asked me to look for a “50 +” women’s formula that had at least 30 ingredients in it to get more supplementation overall, and she also recommended taking some heart-health supplements, along with the temporary mega dose of the D3 over the next three months.

After checking options on multivitamins at several stores, I finally ended up at GNC and decided to try their GNC Women’s Ultra Mega® 50 Plus Vitapaks, at least for the next two months.

GNC Women's Ultra Mega 50 Plus Vitapak

We already have a membership card with GNC, and these were on sale as well, making the total cost only about $1 per day right now and through the end of April.  While I am still checking labels to make sure what else I still need to take each day, it should be minimal.

These convenient vitapaks consist of six different pills and two of them comprise the daily multivitamin.  It also has a much larger amount of D3 than my previous multivitamin.  I suspect that I will also enjoy the convenience of these pre-packaged daily supplements, especially for RV trips and for airplane travel, too.

Overall, I am happy with how I feel right now, and I think it’s only going to get better.  I’ve been over the carb cravings for weeks, and that is also a great feeling.  I still get hungry, but the hunger is nowhere near the level it once was before I started my new eating plan.

Unfortunately, my hubby is a carb-o-holic, and I finally had to make this decision to change my diet for myself and try to work with it the best I could for him.  He is at risk for both heart disease and diabetes, just as I am, so I don’t feel bad about going ahead and making these changes with a few additions for him on occasion to try to keep him happy.  So far, he has been good to go along with the new eating plan and seems content to eat what I fix at mealtimes.  The food is quite tasty most of the time, so that certainly helps.  We also have a few restaurants where we can still dine out and let him indulge in his carb-heavy foods while allowing me to eat on the plan.  Simple carbs and a diet high in carbs overall are just not going to work for me going forward, although I’m sure I will be able to eat them from time to time, if I really want to do so.  For now, our eating arrangement is working just fine, too.

My brother died from Type 2 Diabetes.  I do not want to follow him on that path either, as I have seen all too well the physical devastation it brings.  He endured two amputations and two open heart surgeries before diabetes and congestive heart failure finally took him from us a few years ago at age 63, and I can honestly say that the last ten years of his life were completely horrible.  He never made the necessary life style and diet changes either, all the way to the end of his life, and I still wonder today what kind of life he might have enjoyed if he had made those changes.

My new eating plan will mean preparing some creative camping meals going forward when we travel in the RV, but I’m actually looking forward to that challenge.  I see more fish on the menu, which is great because we both love fish.  For example, I can prepare a quick Tilapia Veracruz using canned Rotel tomatoes and green chiles, a few sliced green olives in a skillet with some seasonings in about fifteen minutes, start to finish, that is very flavorful and very healthy, too.  Add some pre-cooked brown rice in a package that heats in a flash in the microwave for hubby (and for me in the future in later stages of my eating plan), a side salad that I throw together while the fish cooks, and we have a great dinner on the table in no time.  We can each have our own dessert, and I really like several pre-packaged options that are “legal” on my diet now.

Everyone must eventually find their own proper eating plan at this stage of life after 50, I think, in order to stay healthy.  For now, I know what mine needs to be, after consulting with my doctor and some trial and error over the last few years, and I am grateful for that knowledge.  It can be down right frustrating to figure it out at times, too.  Simply counting calories did not work for me, as hard as I tried to do so on some previous occasions.  Staying within a more specific range of good carbs, along with keeping an eye on the calories, has definitely worked well for me.  😉

D
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Author: DK

Blogger at My Five Fs (Faith - Family - Food - Fotos - Fun) and Animal Wonder. Empty-nester that now shares life with my hubby and our two standard poodles. Enjoys camping in our RV, taking and editing photos, trying new low-carb recipes, baking pretty decorated cookies for special occasions, walking daily, spending time with family and friends when we can, playing with the dogs, and is grateful to God for every single day of this blessed life and for the opportunity to share and connect with some great people here.

10 thoughts on “Changing for the Better”

  1. Kudos….we’ve discovered it’s all about eating healthy and staying mobile. The RV lifestyle keeps us active. Keep up the good work and you’ll only feel better 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much! I totally agree about being more active when we are out in the RV. Some more strenuous hiking caught up with me a little more on our last outing, though, and that is when I decided it was time to make these changes. We are not getting any younger, but I sure want to stay in good shape as long as possible.

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  2. Good for you, D! A healthier you, that’s what’s important. We’ve been adjusting our diet here at our house too as both hubby and I have a few of the issues you talked about here. My vitamin D level took a plunge too back in the early fall and since I’ve been taking a D supplement, I do feel so much better AND I think I’ve endured the winter season with its gray skies a lot easier as well.

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    1. Thanks so much! What is with that Vitamin D stuff anyway? 😉 Seems like there is always just one little nagging thing every time on my labs these days. I’m just curious if this will require taking the big supplement all the time or if just a few months will fix the issue. That new multi has a lot more D3 than the multi I took previously, too. I hope your gray skies go away soon. We are finally enjoying some beautiful weather here, and I messed up and got a sunburn while working in the yard this weekend. My bad. Hopefully we will have a few weeks of nice weather before the heat sends us indoors during the afternoons once again.

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      1. I know! Everyone I talk to here seems to be vitamin D deficient. My MD advised me to take 2000 IU fall & winter and 1000 IU spring & summer. I wonder if it’s because we now all use sunscreen and it blocks any vitamin D our body would absorb when we’re out in the sun? Of course, you get way more sunshine than we do here in western PA, so I don’t know. It’s a mystery to me.

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  3. That is very interesting what your doc told you about the appropriate levels. I guess I will see what happens when I go back in three months for a retest. BTW, we nearly moved to Erie about 20 years ago. Came up there three times and even went house hunting before deciding to just stay put and not move. We were not sure if we could adapt to gray skies for so long, and we also were not sure if we could survive without Tex-Mex restaurants. lol

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